Newfoundland Brewery Tour: Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co., Bay Roberts, NL
Mark Burry and Julian Kean of Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. in Bay Roberts have been hard at work for nearly two years. The two cousins were homebrewers who enjoyed experimenting with new recipes and drinking great beer were looking to break into Newfoundland’s rapidly growing craft brewery boom. The Racket spoke to Burry via email before making the trip out to Bay Roberts to taste what Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. has to offer.
“We had lived in the capital city [during] our university years, but having grown up in a [Glovertown], we both always wanted to settle somewhere rural for the next chapter of our lives,” said Burry. The cousins began looking for an opportunity to make brewing their full-time jobs while returning to a more rural setting. “Our research, as well as our love of nature and history, led us to Conception Bay North,” he said.
The cousins purchased a commercial space in Bay Roberts which borders on the Shearstown Estuary and overlooks Spaniard’s Bay. They began renovations in January 2018 with hopes of opening Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. by the busy summer tourist season. “We ran into our share of issues and construction delays, as can be expected with a commercial renovation,” said Burry. “The process of obtaining all necessary permitting and meeting the licensing requirements from the province was also complex, slow-moving and confusing at times.”
For those who are unaware, the Baccalieu Trail is a scenic drive that extends from Holyrood, and along the Conception Bay coastline to communities like Grates Cove and back down through towns like Hearts Content, Dildo, and Whitbourne. The duo chose to name their brewery after the trail, because according to Burry, “[t]he whole trail is full of history and beautiful landmarks, and a healthy small business community that we wanted to be a part of, and help promote.”
Burry and Kean tend to focus on classic beer styles made in weekly small batches. “We have a great view of Conception Bay North, and are situated along a protected bird sanctuary,” said Burry. “It's a great place to come watch the wildlife while enjoying a few pints.”
Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. is hoping to be a big part of promoting tourism, culture, and community in the area. “We name our beer after historical events, landmarks, stories and places along the Baccalieu Trail," said Burry. “Our desire to bring craft beer to the area, and to work to become part of the community, were also a big factor in our decision to take the entrepreneurial leap in the first place.” Burry and Kean both believe that small businesses play an important role in the sustainability of small communities as both of their families operated businesses in Glovertown.
When it comes to brewing, Burry and Kean like to be influenced by blogs like Brülosophy, and the Mad Fermentationist, beers they have tried throughout their travels and locally produced brews from Port Rexton and Quidi Vidi. “A good session Pale Ale, New England IPAs, and Porters/Stouts [are my favourite styles of beer] at the moment,” said Burry.
Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. seems to also be big on collaboration between the local breweries as they were offered guest tap selections from Dildo Brewing Co. and Mill Street Brewpub. These brews compliment nicely with what Burry and Kean are offering. Baccalieu Trail Brew Pub’s Mad Rock NEIPA garnered comparisons to Collective Arts Brewing’s Ransack the Universe Hemisphere IPA and their seasonal offering Nor East G’Ale Amber Ale is exactly the beer for a cold December day, refreshing yet comforting.
Burry said since Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. opened on November 10, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “We've seen so many local people coming back for growler fills, and enjoying our beer on site in the tasting room,” he said. They have also been using the taproom to host events like concerts from local musicians and an ugly sweater Christmas party. “We've received an amazing response, and a great welcome to say the least,” he said. The brewery has been so successful that they sold out of their first three batches two weeks after opening which Burry said is better than he and Kean had hoped for given the fact that they opened in late fall.
The Racket’s Recommendations for a Flight: Mad Rock NEIPA, Baccalieu Blonde, Winterman’s ESB, Nor East G’Ale Amber Ale
***As with the nature of breweries and small batches, these brews may not always be on tap.***
If you are looking to join the expanding craft beer industry in Newfoundland, Burry and Kean are looking for some help. They just posted an ad on their social media looking for bar staff.